Under normal conditions, the immune system performs several major and critical functions related to protecting the body from the constant attacks of microorganisms, abnormal cells, and foreign bodies. However, under certain conditions that no one is sure of, the immune responses are triggered against the cells of our own bodies. This can cause a variety of different autoimmune diseases which includes, but not limited to, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and diabetes type 1. Autoimmune diseases have wreaked havoc on millions of lives for decades and the cause behind them still remains unknown. The list of different types of autoimmune diseases continues to grow over time as it attacks new areas of patients’ bodies. But, how can we fight this problem? Is CBD the solution for it?
Cannabis – the controversial plant has been gaining popularity with each passing day for its unbelievable medicinal properties. Though it is still regarded as illegal by a majority of the population, this plant is known to carry with it a treasure trove of amazing substance which has a soothing effect on different problems. The best-known compound present in cannabis is the cannabidiol (or CBD), which has been proven to be effective in treating a wide variety of autoimmune disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. Also, the reaction that autoimmune disease has on the skin can be effectively taken care of by CBD.
Autoimmune Diseases: What are they?
Autoimmune diseases arise when the immune system of our body mistakes positive and healthy cells for something dangerous. When our body reacts against the foreign pathogens, antibodies are created and direct the immune system to attack the cells that are bound to the antibodies. But, this disease causes the immune system to attack healthy cells. There are different types of autoimmune diseases and each of them attacks a different region of the body. In lupus, the blood cells and lungs are attacked, while in Rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are attacked, and so on. We will discuss the current preclinical and clinical evidence as regards the uses of CBD in managing a certain group of autoimmune diseases.
The therapeutic role of CBD in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is characterized by immune cell infiltration into the joint, with subsequent cartilage destruction through a complex immune-mediated mechanism. To date, current RA medications such as glucocorticoids often interfere with cytokine production or signaling but are often associated with side effects related to infection or immune disturbances.
CBD might be added to current Rheumatoid Arthritis therapy, as it elicits anti-depressive and anti-inflammatory effects independent of cannabinoid receptors and without psychotropic side effects which gets you ‘high’.
Modulation of inflammation in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus through CBD
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin secondary to the autoimmune destruction of the beta cells which produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow glucose to enter cells in order to produce energy. Despite extensive research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment is focused mainly on managing blood glucose levels with insulin, diet, and lifestyle to prevent any debilitating complications.
In an experiment on non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice to investigate the impact of CBD treatment on early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes (T1D), the mice were prophylactically administered daily 5 mg/kg CBD (five times weekly for ten weeks). The results showed promising effects of CBD on markers of inflammation in the microcirculation of the pancreas, where non-treated NOD mice developed T1D earlier than CBD-treated mice. Also, CBD-treated mice showed significantly reduced leucocyte activation and increased functional capillary density (both are involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes) in the pancreatic microcirculation.
A Murine Model of Autoimmune Myocarditis Treated with CBD
CBD may represent a promising treatment agent for managing autoimmune myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and possibly other autoimmune disorders.
A recent experimental study investigated the potential beneficial effects of CBD. The experimental autoimmune myocarditis model was characterized by marked myocardial T-cell infiltration (immune cell infiltration), intense inflammatory response and fibrosis accompanied by a marked reduction of cardiac functions. Long-term treatment with CBD substantially attenuated T cell-mediated inflammatory response and injury, decreased myocardial fibrosis and improved cardiac function.
Noteworthy, the findings of the aforementioned experimental studies are not yet applicable to the general population until large-scale human studies are conducted.
Is CBD The Answer To Treating Autoimmune Diseases?
It is true that CBD oil can’t fight every disorder that is caused by autoimmune diseases, but it is beneficial for an array of them. CBD is effective in treating different symptoms that include pain, inflammation, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and nutrition absorption problem. One should put in mind that the current promising effects of CBD in various autoimmune diseases are still preliminary and need further confirmation in large-scale human studies.